The Truth About Carbs

Fad diets had us fearing carbs. But how can this be true when we have been told time after time to eat more fiber? The distinction lies between the good and bad carbohydrates.

Example: Old Fashioned Oatmeal vs. Instant Oatmeal: Old Fashioned Oatmeal takes longer to cook. A natural oat is a complex carbohydrate. It takes more time and effort for our bodies to break down and use the oat. Instant Oatmeal only needs hot water added to make a bowl of oatmeal. Why? The instant oat has already been refined/processed so that the fiber is broken down and softens quickly from the warm water. The same is true once inside our body. The oat is absorbed quickly and leaves little work for the body to do. Instant Oatmeal turns into sugar faster than a natural food.

Example 2: Brown Rice vs. White Rice: All varieties of rice look alike before being extracted from its grain. Once the outermost layer (the husk) of a grain of rice is removed, brown rice is produced. When you keep peeling, the bran layer and germ are removed and you are left with the starch or white rice. The bran layer that just came off contained the fiber and nutrients that our body needs. Again, the work that our body is supposed to do, breaking down the rice, has been done for us. The term Glycemic Index refers to this process of metabolizing and the measure of how quickly the food raises the sugar levels. A white potato has a high Glycemic Index (85) as it raises the sugar level faster than a sweet potato with a low Glycemic Index (54).

When choosing carbs, think about whole grains that haven’t been refined to white. Leave the work of digestion to your body, instead of the processing plant.